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Community-Based Learning

Drexel Student Max Henderson in the lab with Code Dragons
Max Henderson a PhD candidate in Mathematics, tutoring students in Puntes de Salud, an after school program in South Philadelphia.

In the College of Arts and Sciences unique Community-Based-Learning courses, students don’t just study the issues affecting the world — they study alongside the people affected. In Prison Society and You, students attend class in the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility alongside prison inmates, creating a dialogue about crime and justice between those outside and inside of the nation’s correctional facilities. In Urban Farming Communities, students learn how to plant and maintain an urban green space at a West Philadelphia farm where they volunteer each week. In Hospice Journaling, students create life journals for hospice patients to help ailing individuals creating a lasting record of their life for their loved ones. And in Connections in Biology, students teach in an after-school science club at a local middle school on topics ranging from microbiology to genetics.

Community-Based-Learning courses are offered in three formats: side-by-side, community hybrid and service learning. Side-by-side courses create a co-learning environment in which Drexel students and community members take classes together. Community hybrid courses are composed entirely of Drexel students and are split between the classroom and community. Service learning courses require service in the community in addition to students’ credit hours in the classroom.


  • ACHIEVEability
  • Art Sanctuary
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • City of Philadelphia
  • Crossroads Hospice
  • Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
  • Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships
  • Enterprise Center
  • Freire Charter School
  • Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center School Program
  • Ivan "Pick" Brown Memorial Foundation Inc.
  • Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association
  • LIFT - Philadelphia
  • Locke Elementary School
  • Mantua Senior Residence
  • Moder Patshala
  • Philabundance
  • Project for Nuclear Awareness
  • Spells Writing Lab, Inc.
  • The Veterans Group
  • U.C. Green, Inc.
  • Urban Tree Connection
  • Usiloquy Dance Designs
  • West Philadelphia Financial Services


For the most current list of available courses, visit the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement.

FALL 2015

Prison, Society and You (CJS 261.001)

Prison, Society and You utilizes the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to explore the relationship between individuals and the prison system. The Inside-Out Exchange Program is an evolving set of projects that creates opportunities for dialogue between those on the outside and those on the inside of the nation’s correctional facilities. The program demonstrates the potential for dynamic collaborations between institutions of higher education and correctional institutions. Most importantly, this course seeks to deepen our conversations and transform the ways we think about crime and justice.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Cyndi Rickards, meets Thursdays, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Permission of instructor is required for registration. Email for more information.


Hospice Journaling (WRIT 304.130)

Hospice Journaling is a hybrid community-based course. Many people are scared of death. However, the last days of someone’s life are really a time to celebrate that life. In this class, students will join together to create a Life Journal to help a hospice patient pass down their life experiences to their family and loved ones. Through this, the students will show the patients what they’ve done really mattered, while also learning the importance of their own lives.

This course is taught by Ken Bingham and is designated open enrollment. For more information, contact the instructor at or call 215.350.0317.

Literature and Society – War Stories: Violence and Resilience (ENG 360.901)

War Stories: Violence and Resilience is a side-by-side, community-based course in which students explore war from the ground-level point of view of soldiers in combat. The focus will be non-fiction accounts of soldiers in battle. The class treats war stories as a form of literature that depicts the human struggle to survive and make meaning in extreme situations. Some course texts will be graphic, and there will be no attempt to minimize the violence and bloodshed that defines war. The class will also explore the aftermath of war and the challenges faced by veterans re-entering civilian society.

This course is taught by Robert Watts and is designated open enrollment. For more information, contact the instructor at or call 215.895.2441.

What Students Are Saying About Community-Based Learning

“The Inside-Out Prison Exchange course was by far the most memorable class I took at Drexel. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to open up a greater diversity of thought. Two years later, I still reflect on the lessons I learned and how the class transformed my way of thinking about crime and justice.” — Stephanie Takach, BS Communication ’12

"The opportunities offered in community-based learning at Drexel were the most rewarding and significant aspects of my education. They not only enabled me to get involved with the surrounding community of West Philadelphia and opened my eyes to the hardships that inner-city individuals experience, but they also offered the chance to undertake a more robust social science project that utilized my ethnographic skills. Doing this kind of research made me more excited about anthropological work and gave me a sense of being involved in the discipline. As a result of all of these factors, I will never forget how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to take part in this work." — Peter Knepper, BA Anthropology '11

“As an anthropology major, I gained a great deal of real research experience and learned a lot about core sociological concepts through community-based-learning courses. While volunteering, I was able to see the impact I can make on my community and I had the opportunity to interact with people whom I would never normally be able to talk to. Through these incredible interactions, I learned the importance of a symbiotic relationship. As much as I have been helping those in need, they have been helping me. Their knowledge and experience has taught me so much and has made me grow immensely." — Nora Meighan, BA Anthropology '14

"I can't put into words how amazing this course was and how it affected my life as a whole… The way in which the course brought together such a diverse group of people and showed us all that we are all the same, was life changing. I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had and the people I have met in this class. I will never forget it." — Student on course evaluation for Talk'n the Walk Course

"Through this course I was able to travel outside of my comfort zone physically and mentally. It enabled me to not only meet community members, but also to get to know each and everyone one of them on a personal level." — Student on course evaluation for Talk'n the Walk Course

"I loved this class. I enjoyed being off campus and with a diverse group of students." — Student on course evaluation for Talk'n the Walk Course